Personal Preparedness: You don’t need a bunker

1 min read

Do you have a preparedness plan? The apocalypse is imminent! Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. But if you engage with the news these days, it can seem like the world is ending. There are stories about volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, terrorism, famine, historic floods, mudslides, tornados, wildfires, hurricanes, bomb cyclones, pandemics, civil unrest, solar flares that can take out the power grid, and zombies. Fine, maybe not zombies. But I’ve actually read about everything else in that list in the last six months. These are the types of disasters that can and will happen. And they could happen soon.
 
That’s enough to make me want to binge-watch some lighthearted TV to forget about all of this. But this wouldn’t be much of a personal preparedness blog post if I left it at binge-watching TV.” We shouldn’t wait until disaster strikes to start thinking about how to protect ourselves and our families. The sooner we start preparing, the safer we can be during a disaster. Below are three tips to get you started on your personal preparedness journey:

personal-prep-ToDoList1. Determine your comfort level with preparedness.

If you want to stock a bunker with supplies and live off the grid for years, great!  Most of us, however, don’t even know if we have supplies to make it until our next grocery run. That’s ok. Start with a manageable project that fits your time, energy, and budget. Preparedness isn’t all or nothing. It’s a continuum. Doing something is better than doing nothing.

personal-prep-location2. Research what hazards might affect your area.

 If you don’t live near a volcano, preparing for a volcanic eruption is not worth your time. Your state and local emergency management agencies can help you determine what hazards could affect your area. They can also provide you with tips and resources to help you prepare for these threats.

personal-prep-house3. Prepare your home.

In your preparedness strategy, don’t forget about personal disasters that can affect your home such as power outages and house fires. Create a basic communication plan with your family, and account for pets and any other special needs. Make sure you have basic safety equipment in your home such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, flashlights, and a weather radio. Be sure to also plan fire escape routes for every bedroom.
 
You’re not alone in your preparedness journey. A number of government agencies and non-profits have resources that can help you prepare (Links included below). Start preparing wherever you feel most comfortable. Anything you do will make you and your family more resilient in the face of unexpected adversity. You may even end up enjoying the process more than you think!
 
Katie Ballering Dr. Katie Ballering is a microbiologist and biosafety expert who is also a self-described “preparedness nerd.” Her training and interests run the gamut from molecular biology to emergency management. Katie loves to collaborate with multidisciplinary groups in the interest of improving public health. She especially enjoys making complex topics accessible and actionable for everyone.